London clearly has a few centuries under its belt, but like the age-defying auntie who keeps fiddling the birthday candles, it’s difficult to say exactly how old the capital is. No wonder it was one of Londoners’ most searched questions in 2017, according to Google.
We know that London began with the Romans, who invaded Blighty in AD 43, landing in Kent. This bit of the Thames was handy: sea-going ships had a quick link to the Continent and the river was narrow enough here to cross. According to Jackie Keily, senior curator at the Museum of London, ‘Londinium’ was founded in around AD 48 or 49 on the river’s north bank. Timber waterfronts and the first permanent London Bridge were being built by the early AD 50s, and the first surviving written reference to London dates from around AD 65. So our city is something like 1,969 years old. Try fitting all those candles on a Colin the Caterpillar.